Here we are, 41,000 feet in the air, sailing along at a little more than 476 knots and a little more than halfway from Morristown, N.J., to the Paris Air Show. We’ve got a biofuel blend of Honeywell’s finest and jet-A feeding engine one and straight jet-A in the other. The G450’s Rolls-Royce engines appear to be perfectly happy on a diet of either, and the flight is as smooth as a glass-top table.
Two years ago at the last Paris Air Show, jet biofuels were just talked about, but at the airshow this week they appear to have come of age. On Saturday, Honeywell made history by landing a Gulfstream G450 at Paris Le Bourget after the first transatlantic flight using a blend of biofuel and jet-A.
What does it take to make a million barrels of “green” oil a day? According to San Diego, California-based Sapphire Energy (Hall 3 E118), the answer lies in combination of new environmentally friendly technologies. Sapphire aims to be producing about 67 barrels (2,800 gallons) of its fuel per day by 2014. By 2018, it hopes to be producing between 5,000 and 10,000 barrels of green crude per day.
The Boeing 747-8 Freighter landed here at Paris Le Bourget Airport yesterday at 5:35 p.m., after completing the first transatlantic flight of a commercial airliner powered on all engines by a sustainable aviation biofuel.
Honeywell made history here in Paris on Saturday morning, landing its Gulfstream G450 jet at Le Bourget after the first transatlantic flight using biofuel. The trip’s green credentials can be measured in the 5.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) saved in the course of the seven-hour flight from the New York-area Morristown Airport. In fact, the aircraft crossed the Pond only partly powered by biofuel.
Washington state and its neighbors in the U.S. Pacific Northwest claim to have established an early leadership position in the development of sustainable aviation biofuels.
Independence Bio-Products of Dublin, Ohio, has produced algae oil, which has been converted to jet fuel and then successfully tested by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB. The algae was grown in open ponds in Ohio and harvested with IBP’s proprietary system. This milestone is part of a federally funded project to examine algae-to-fuel processing strategies.
Civil unrest in the Middle East has pushed up the price of jet fuel by more than 30 percent since December. In response, airlines have increased ticket prices, and some have announced they will begin grounding older, less-efficient aircraft types. While no one knows for sure how long this spike in prices will last, it has prompted many in the industry to turn their attention back to the promise of biofuel.
For a pilot worried about whether the next bump in operating costs will be one more incentive for the boss to sell the airplane, recent volatility of oil prices and rising jet-A prices must be disturbing.
The spike in global oil prices brought about in no small measure by the unrest in the Middle East has driven the price of jet-A above $3 a gallon, prompting airlines throughout the world to adjust their air fares in an effort to compensate. According to the Air Transport Association, $3 jet fuel would raise U.S. airlines’ 2011 fuel bill by some $15 billion. Last year’s fuel bill for U.S. airlines totaled $38.8 billion.